- One Inch
- FB Marijuana
- Bridge Clear
- Mental Fraud
- Craft Fair
- Planning Agenda
- Judicial Assignments
- Terror Muddle
- Dirty Green
- Management Training
- Writer Traps
- Beltrami Bench
- Noyo Park
- Police Reports
- Yesterday's Catch
- Music Lessons
- Job Description
- English Teacher
- Project Santa
- Runaway Truck
THE CALFIRE COMPOUND in Boonville reports this last storm at just over one inch of rain, bringing the 2015/2016 season total to 4.12 inches. According to the National Weather Service, after a brief respite, another rainstorm is expected.
FORT BRAGG GETS READY FOR THE MIRACLE DRUG
(And Maybe Learns How To Spell Dispensary As They Go)
MENDOCINOSPORTSPLUS reports that most of Caltrans work to clear the Highway One Navarro River Bridge at the end of Highway 128 is complete. For short video go to the mendocinosportsplus Facebook page and scroll down to the Navarro Bridge item. (We can’t repost Facebook videos on this website.)
SONYA NESCH WRITES: This is an excellent report. There's quite a bit about United Healthcare's Optum toward the end. We had two bad choices in 2012 as bidders for Mendocino County’s mental health contracts: Ortner and Optum. Hopefully we're close to returning to local control of Mental Health.
“Fraud, Waste and Excess Profits: The Fate of Money Intended to Treat People With Serious Mental Illness”
E. Fuller Torrey, MD. Associate Director, Stanley Medical Research Institute
HOLIDAY ART AND CRAFTS FAIR
The Greenwood Community Church is holding their annual holiday craft fair Saturday December 5th at the Greenwood Community Center in downtown Elk from 10am until 4pm. It's your opportunity to shop for unique gifts and truly "keep it local" this holiday season. Lunch will be available courtesy of our Greenwood Community School Moms. So come to Elk this Saturday and experience a true small town Christmas!
THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING AGENDA for Thursday, December 17, 2015, is now available on the County website:
Please contact Planning & Building Services at (707) 234-6650 if you have any questions regarding this message.
Dept Analyst I
County of Mendocino
Planning & Building Services
Main Office: 860 N. Bush St, Ukiah, CA 95482
Coast Office: 120 W. Fir St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Phone: (707) 234-6675
Mendocino County Superior Court 2016 Judicial Assignments
Presiding Judge Elect John Behnke recently announced the judicial assignments for 2016. Judicial assignments are reviewed every two years and new assignments made as appropriate.
Effective January 1, 2016, in an attempt to increase efficiency and to limit unnecessary court appearances, the court will eliminate the use of a criminal master calendar department. Departments A and B will handle their own felony arraignments and operate insofar as possible, as vertical calendar departments.
The revised calendar plan is now available on the court’s website:
Assistant Presiding Judge Elect Ann Moorman will continue to preside over felony cases in Department A. Former Presiding Judge David Nelson will move to Department B to preside over felony matters. Judge Nelson will also serve as a member of the appellate panel. Judge Cindee Mayfield will return to Department C to handle family law matters. Judge Mayfield will also preside over the Appellate Division and Family Dependency Drug Court. Judge Jeanine Nadel will move to Department E to handle unlimited civil matters, probate, and conservatorships. Judge Nadel will also preside over the Adult Drug Court and serve on the court’s appellate panel.
Judge David Riemenschneider will move to Department F to preside over juvenile delinquency and dependency matters. Judge Riemenschneider will also serve on the courts appellate panel. Judge Richard J. Henderson will move to Department G which will serve as a dedicated criminal trial department. Judge Henderson will also preside over small claims, unlawful detainer, and walk-in traffic matters. Judge John Behnke will move to Department H which will handle all misdemeanor pre-trial matters. Judge Clay Brennan will continue to preside over civil, criminal, and family law matters in our Ten Mile Court Branch in Fort Bragg.
Judge Behnke also announced that the Executive Committee, which manages the court, will be comprised of Judges Behnke, Moorman, and Nadel.
For more information contact:
Court Executive Officer
100 N. State Street, Room 303
Ukiah, CA 954825
GOOFY MUDDLE ABOUT TERRORISM
The befuddled reaction to the latest slaughter is simply bizarre, as if it's never happened before or as if the motives of the San Bernardino shooters were somehow mysterious. As soon as I saw the Middle Eastern names of the suspects, it seemed likely to me that they were what are called "individual jihadists," that is, Muslim extremists engaging in terrorism on their own initiative, inspired formerly by Al Qaeda but now by ISIS.
The muddle continues on the front page of today's NY Times: "F.B.I. Investigating California Rampage as a Potential Act of Terrorism." Gee, do you think? And the hed on the story just below: "A Couple Who lived Quietly, Motives Unknown," even though the story linked above reported that the authorities already essentially knew what their motives were: they were inspired by radical Islam.
And the shooter's father said this two days ago: “He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.”
Instead we get this stupidity: "But officials emphasized that they did not know what set off the attack, and said that they were not ready to call it terrorism."
This is like the stupidity the feds displayed after the Fort Hood shooting in 2009, which, apparently for legal reasons, they insisted on calling "workplace violence," not terrorism, even though the shooter made his religious motives clear.
If there really is a legal problem here, then change the fucking law so that the "authorities" don't look like complete morons and incompetents. It's not exactly reassuring to the citizenry when our rulers talk like idiots during one of these incidents.
And of course all good liberals rush to point out that Islamic terrorists are a minority in that faith, that most Muslims are non-violent, etc. Yes, of course, but obviously Islam has a problem, and Islam's problem is also our problem — and will continue to be a problem for the foreseeable future.
(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)
FOR THE RECORD
From December of 1995 through February of 1996, the administration regarded the support the mainstream enviro groups as of crucial importance in the 1996 race. This concern is duly reflected in the Clinton White House Coffee klatsches. On Dec. 15, 1995 two corporate executives who sit on the board of the Wilderness Society sipped coffee with Clinton. One of them was real estate baron Richard Blum – husband of Dianne Feinstein – who is also a longtime friend and sometime business partner of Charles Hurwitz, the corporate raider from Houston who wanted the government to purchase from him at an exorbitant price the Headwaters Redwood Forest in Northern California. The other attendee was David Bonderman, a financier and chairman of Continental Airlines. Bonderman is based in Houston and is also a pal of Hurwitz. Six months after this session, Sen. Dianne Feinstein brokered a Headwaters deal for the administration that was highly favorable to Hurwitz. The Wilderness Society was the only national environmental group to praise the bailout.
Alexander Cockburn, 2008
A GUY WALKS INTO A BAR with a shotgun in one hand and a bucket of dog shit in the other. He says to the Barkeep “Give me a coffee.” Waiter says sure, “coming right up.” He gets a tall mug of coffee and drinks it down, picks up the bucket of dog shit, throws it in the air and blasts it with the shotgun. Then he just walks out. Next day the guy returns. He has his shotgun and another bucket of dog shit. He walks up to the counter and says. ” Give me a coffee.” The Barkeep says, “Whoa, buddy. We’re still cleaning up your mess from the last time you were here. What the heck was that all about anyway?” Fella gives a shit-eatin’ grin and says, “I’m training for an upper management position. Show up for work, drink coffee, shoot the shit, leave a mess for someone else to clean up, and then disappear for the rest of the day.
“TELL ME FIRST what are the things, the actual, concrete things that harm a writer?"
"Politics, women, drink, money, ambition — and the lack of politics, women, drink, money and ambition."
— Hemingway, from Green Hills of Africa
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Commemorating Installation Of The “Al Beltrami” Bench And Traffic Circle Redesign
On December 10, 2015, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and Executive Office is commemorating the installation of the “Al Beltrami” bench at the newly redesigned drought tolerant traffic circle at the County Administration Building in Ukiah.
During the month of October and November, the Executive Office – Facilities and Fleet Division, in cooperation with the University of California Cooperative Extension and the Master Gardeners redesigned the traffic circle in front of the Administration Building with drought tolerant, native plants. A sitting area near the flagpole will be home to the Al Beltrami memorial bench. This bench was commissioned by the Park Endowment Fund to honor Al Beltrami’s contribution to Mendocino County and was designed in collaboration with his family.
The ribbon cutting will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at the County Administrative Building. The ribbon cutting is open to the public and interested parties are welcome to attend. For more information, please contact the Executive Office at email@example.com or (707) 463-4441.
When: December 10, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
Where: Traffic Circle in front of the County Administration Building
501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
Released by: Carmel J. Angelo
Chief Executive Officer/Water Agency Director
NOYO HARBOR PARK, Fort Bragg
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
HEY! WATCH THIS, GUYS.
On 11-21-2015 at approximately 12:19 AM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported explosion in the area of the OddFellow's Hall on Tolen Avenue in Laytonville. The Odd Fellow's Hall houses several apartments. The location of the reported incident was near those apartments. The explosion was heard from at least three miles away. While the Deputies were still en-route to the call, they were advised that a burn victim had arrived at the Frank Howard Memorial Hospital emergency room in Willits. At the OddFellow's Hall, the Deputies observed shards of metal and a small wheel, similar to the size of a tricycle wheel, from a device that witnesses described as a "small cannon." A witness told them an 18 year-old male leaned down and appeared to light a fuse. A moment later the device exploded, spreading metal fragments and frame parts in a wide circle, some impacting the apartment building. After processing the scene for evidence the Deputies contacted the 18 year-old male at the hospital. His injuries included lacerations to his torso, possibly from metal fragments, and a serious injury to his hand. An investigation into the incident and the nature and type of the destructive device is ongoing.
* * *
DISORIENTED MUSHROOM HUNTER
On Thursday 12-03-2015 at about 10:13 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of a missing adult reported to the Fort Bragg Police Department on 12-02-2015 at about 10:22 PM. The Fort Bragg Police Department was contacted by a woman wanting to report her son, Christopher Dahl (25 years-old), missing. Dahl was last seen in the area of Road 409 in Caspar, California near the Solid Waste Transfer station where he was dropped off by a friend at about 4:00 PM on Wedenesday 12-02-2015. When Dahl had not returned home the family started searching for him. The family was unable to locate Dahl and then contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for assistance in searching. On 12-03-2015 at 10:40 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team (SAR), Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies, along with California State Parks Rangers responded to Road 409 to assist in the search. At about 11:37 AM Dahl was located by a family member and was reported to be in good health. Dahl reportedly got disoriented while mushroom hunting and was unable to find his way out of the woods until the morning of 12-03-2015.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 4, 2015
RUSTY EASTER, Fort Bragg. Battery, drunk in public, failure to appear, resisting.
DOMINIC FABER, Ukiah. Parole violation.
RICARDO GARCIA, Ukiah. Contempt of court.
MARIA GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Robbery, conspiracy, probation revocation.
MARK MILLER, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
KEVIN MOYNAHAN, Willits. Lewd/lascivioius upon child under 14.
DEANNE NELSON, Potter Valley. DUI.
LEE RUPERT, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
ALISON SANCHEZ, Willits. Robbery, conspiracy.
TYLER PRESTON ALEXANDER SMITH, Sylacauga, Alabama/Ukiah. Sale of PCP, pot possession for sale, impersonation of another, personal use of deadly weapon, fugitive from justice.
WILLIAM VANTREESE, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
AREA MUSICIAN ARRESTED DEC. 2 FOR LEWD ACTS WITH CHILD
Kevin Moynahan, an area musician and music teacher, was arrested on Dec. 2 by Willits police on suspicion that he “repeatedly and over the course of several years, sexually abused his victim starting when the victim was about seven,” according to Willits police.
Willits police, with the assistance of the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, obtained a warrant to arrest Moynahan after an extensive investigation including an active period of surveillance. Following the arrest, officers executed a search warrant for the suspect’s home on East Hill Road. No results from the search were released.
“At this point, the allegations appear to be limited to a single victim,” said Willits police Sgt. Mark McNelley, “however anyone with additional info is urged to contact the Willits Police Department at 459-6122.”
(Courtesy, the Willits News)
* * *
(Unedited post from Kevin Moynahan’s Facebook page)
He says God bless you and I returned the favor. As I wait in line I see that he is purchasing bananas so I jump in front of him and say
"I'll pay for his stuff too."
He insists that I don't have to do that and I say
"it's ok I want to"
so I pay for his things and he thanks me and leaves minutes later I'm sitting in the car and I get a phone call.
It was a supervisor of les schwab tire company they are opening a store in Colorado and would like for me To be a part of the new store. Than I explained that I will be attending wyotech in March through December and he told me.
"After your done with that give me a call and we will definitely be interested in your employment!!"
This is proof enough for me to believe in the almighty God! Thank you Lord!
WANNA BE A COP?
Geary & 23rd Ave, San Francisco — The suspect was yelling, behaving aggressively and tipping over a garbage can in front of a grocery store. He then threw an empty plastic water bottle at the cashier and tossed a chunk of metal at the store window causing it to shatter. Officers arrived to arrest him and while he was in handcuffs, he kicked one of the officers in the shin and spat on the officer’s face.
Captain’s Note: Is this a good place to remind you that we are recruiting police officers? In all seriousness, if you are an adventurous person with a desire to serve and you can keep your cool under difficult conditions we may have just the job for you. Check us out at http://www.sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=1645.
THE VILLAGE OF THE WINDS
by Louis Bedrock
Villarino de los Aires lies on the Portuguese border not far from a place called Ambas Aguas, where the waters of The River Tormes join those of The River Duero. It is in the extreme northern part of the province of Salamanca in western Spain.
People call Villarino “un pueblo de tres gatos” which means a village of three cats and suggests a very small place; however, Villarino covers 40 square miles and is home to about 1,500 people. While small in comparison with Salamanca and its population of 150,000, it’s neighbor Pereña de la Ribera is smaller with less than half the territory and only 400 inhabitants. La Pereña is a “pueblo de tres gatos”.
In 1978, Villarino consisted of the village proper and El Alto de Villarino, a gated community exclusively for the employees of Iberduero, now Iberdrola, a Spanish hydroelectric company. The employees were mostly engineers and “peritos” — experts and technicians.
On a sunny, idyllic Spanish morning, I was in Salamanca, going to work. I entered the building that housed the language school in which I gave English classes, The American Institute, and walked up to the second floor. Don Santiago, owner and manager of the institute greeted me and invited me into his office to talk about Villarino de los Aires and Iberduero.
The work of engineers and technicians in a hydroelectric company requires that they keep up with new technologies and theories in their industry. Much of this information appears in English language magazines and Iberduero management decided to hire an English teacher to help its employees improve their English language skills.
The position required that the teacher live in Villarino. He or she would be required to teach four classes of one hour each five days a week. It paid 50,000 pesetas per month which was equivalent to about $400; room, board and access to the community’s many amenities were included: there were tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a recreation room with television and its own cafe and bar.
—¿Te interesa, Luis?
—¡Claro que sí!
For sleeping and napping, I had a room in the company motel with maid service. When I walked outside in the morning, I could see grape growers plowing their fields behind their mules.
The Director of Iberduero, Don Luis Sever, gave me my own classroom. It was a meeting room with a large table and was one of several such rooms in a building of offices, meeting rooms, studios, and workshops. There was one of the ubiquitous bar/cafes opposite my room where I could get my morning “cortado” — a variation of cafe con leche with two-thirds coffee to one third milk. In this “classroom”, I prepared and taught my classes.
My first class was with Jose Luis who was on the low-intermediate level. Jose Luis was the father of eleven children. He was playful and mischievous. One day of arctic cold, Jose Luis bought me a cortado. I drank it in two or three gulps and soon my head began to spin. As Jose Louis had instructed him, the bartender had added a shot of aguardiente to my coffee. I liked to drink when I lived in Spain, but 9:00 a.m. was very early.
With Jose Luis, I practiced structured conversations and grammar. He asked that I give him written homework assignments and we corrected these in class.
In my second or third week in Villarino, he invited me to his house to have dinner with his enormous, but well organized family. Every child but the baby had a task — from setting the table, to serving the food, to cleaning up and washing the dishes. My offer to help was politely but firmly rejected.
We ate the fresh salad directly from the large salad bowls and I learned to move quickly before the salad disappeared. Jose Luis’ oldest son, 17 year-old Luis — my “tocayo” or namesake, became a good friend with whom I could speak Spanish; and he knew enough about Spanish grammar to answer any questions I had. He and Isadoro, whom I’ll discuss later, were often my lunch or drinking companions in the village.
At ten o’clock, the high intermediate group of Justino, Orlando, and Víctor came in. Justino had once trained to be a bullfighter and still lived a Spartan life; Orlando was quiet and contemplative. Víctor was the most extroverted of the group: he liked sports, games, and jokes. We wrote and shared translations of short stories by Spanish writers, autobiographies, diaries, and our own stories. We talked about one another’s lives and cultures. It was rewarding to watch them gain confidence and fluidity in their speech.
Don Luis Sever, the director, was the lone student in my 11:00 o’clock class, the last class of the morning. He was at high-intermediate level and liked to talk about his work at Iberduero and his family, including his 18-year old daughter María Ángeles who was in her third year of medical school.
Luis often had to miss class because of his responsibilities, but I would make myself available at other hours of the day so he could make up a lost class. He appreciated this and when I ran a summer school for the children of the employees of Iberduero, Don Luis enrolled two of his children.
At two o’clock, I had the “galán” or star of Villarino as my student. José María was tall, good-looking, and athletic: he was a goal keeper for his college soccer team, swam, played tennis, and had completed a summer long course in sailing in Barcelona along with his beautiful Andalusian wife, Carmen. He was an engineer, second in command to Luis Sever, and spoke English very well. Our classes were mainly conversation. I never interrupted him while he was speaking, but took careful notes and discussed selected details with him.
José María became my best friend in Villarino. I went to his house once or twice every week for dinner and an evening of talking, smoking Winstons and Marlboros, drinking Johnny Walker Black, and watching awful American television programs in Spanish, like Starsky and Hutch. José preferred American cigarettes to black tobacco cigarettes like Gauloises and Ducados which were popular in Spain. I smoked Gauloises occasionally and it was like inhaling a cigar.
Carmen insisted that I bring my laundry when I visited so her maid could wash and iron it for me.
My last class of the day was with two secretaries who paid me out of their own pockets. I didn’t charge them much because I respected them for their desire to study and their willingness to pay for the privilege out of their meager salaries. One of the women dropped out after a month, but the other, Dorotéa, never missed a class and made impressive progress.
I usually stayed in the meeting room until 5:00 p.m. or later to make up classes lost because of professional obligations. Don Luis Sever and José María often had to miss classes and frequently took advantage of my offer to make them up in the late afternoon.
At times, José María or Don Luis had to visit a site to supervise and inspect works in progress or to resolve problems. The dams and reservoirs had names that seemed to come from epic poems: Aldeadávila; Almendra; Saucelle. I often went with them and the class became a bilingual conversation about the project, the dams, and the generating of electrical energy. I didn’t worry about missing the next class because everyone’s schedule was flexible and I always made up for lost classes. After all, Luis Sever and José María were the ones who ran the place.
The Almendra Dam taps the power of the River Tormes. It’s near a small village called Almendra—“Almond” in English, which gave the dam its name. Completed in 1977, it is as beautiful a piece of architecture as the Verrazano Bridge or the TWA terminal at Kennedy Airport, and an impressive engineering feat.
The Aldeadávila and Saucelle Dams are along the Duero River and are no less impressive. Both straddle the Spanish-Portuguese border, but are owned by the Spanish Iberduero Company.
These excursions were incredible. The dams are bordered by imposing reservoirs and the ravines are ringed by hills and mountains. Almendra rises up from relatively level surroundings like a Colossus.
Occasionally we had to go deep underground to inspect dynamos, turbines, transformers, generators, and other machinery about which I understood very little. José María and Luis tried to provide detailed explanations of how the energy of running water was converted into electricity. I could understand a little of what they were describing; however, I ended up remembering the words of Sir Arthur Clark, who equated higher technology with magic.
I’m a city boy who had spent most of his life in Newark, Elizabeth, and Philadelphia. Villarino was the countryside and I grew to love it. In Villarino I saw the Milky Way for the first time in my life. There were more stars in the sky at night than I had ever seen.
In Villarino, one could hear the silence; or perhaps, feel it. At night you learned why the place was called “Village of the Winds” as gusts howled through the nearby canyons and valleys. I loved both the silence of the afternoons and the sound of the wind at night.
Everyone in the village knew me as “El Inglés”. When they greeted me it was with “¡Hola, Inglés!” or “Buenos días, Inglés.”
There’s a highway that connects Villarino with its nearest neighbor, Pereña de la Ribera, and I ran along side of it two or three times a week covering the ten kilometer round trip in about 45 minutes.
A farmer working behind a plow and a mule, greeted me:
—Hola, Inglés! If it’s exercise you want, come down here and help me with the grape vines.
One day, on the return trip, it began to rain hard. Before I became drenched, a Volkswagen bug with four Spanish hippies stopped and offered me a ride. I accepted. The driver was about my age, looked a little like Lou Reed, and had long curly hair. The three attractive females looked like college students and were attired in jeans and tees.
They dropped me off at the company cafeteria just in time for a late lunch. They said goodbye and suggested we would meet again.
While I was eating lunch, one of the people with whom I shared a table said,
—So, you’ve met the priest and the nuns.
—What are you talking about?
—The people who gave you a ride were Isidoro, the village priest, and three nuns.
Isidoro would become a friend and a drinking buddy. I went to mass every Sunday to hear his sermons despite being an unrepentant atheist. Isidoro’s sermons often touched on political themes — like the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, whose victory Isidoro described as a step toward establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. These conceits earned Isidoro the sympathy and admiration of most of the young people of the village (and older, lefty English teachers), but caused antipathy among the older and often more conservative (or reactionary) residents of Villarino.
Someone wrote on his windshield with scarlet paint, “¡Cura rojo!” (“Red priest!”).
Like most Spaniards, Isidoro knew a plethora of curse words and used them whenever possible. Like most Spaniards, his favorites were “joder” (fuck), “mierda” (shit), y “coño” (cunt). These words, especially the last, have less force in Spain than they have here.
The strongest words and expressions relate to God and religion: “¡Maldito sea!” (Goddamn it!), “¡La Hostia!” (The Host!), and an extensive series of expressions that begin with “Me cago en...” (I defecate upon...) and end with a variety of sacred direct objects: “Dios”, “la Virgen”, el “Espíritu Santo”, “la Hostia”, “la puta Madre” and many, many more.
Once, while Isidoro, Luis — oldest son of my student José Luis, and I were drinking in a bar near the church, I knocked over my glass of wine and exclaimed, “La Hostia”.
Isidoro laughed and said, “Luis, eso no, ¡por favor!” (Luis, don’t use that word, please!)
Isidoro could speak knowledgeably about many subjects and was always interesting to talk to. He answered all my questions about the Catholic Church, his beliefs, and religion in general. We discussed politics, literature, and education. When I observed that the vocation of a teacher was similar to the vocation of a priest, he asserted that becoming a priest was not a vocation, but rather an “avocación” — a calling.
When the contract with Iberduero expired in June, I decided to stay for the summer and give classes to the children of my Iberduero students. This required that I find a place to live in the village. Isidoro accompanied me, helped me find a place I could afford, and told the landlady that I could be trusted.
He was as much of a social worker as he was a priest. I once accompanied him on his rounds through the village. He carried food and second hand clothes to poor families, including the family that had come from Mozambique and hadn’t yet mastered Spanish; he and the nuns ran a summer camp for the village children; they visited all the families in the village and in The Alto, often staying to share a meal and “la sobremesa” — the after dinner conversation; he was always available to talk to young people if they had something they needed to discuss; and he even participated in the “vendimia” — the grape harvest. He not only helped to gather the grapes, but also stomped on them barefooted in huge tubs to extract the juice.
In spite of my problems with the Catholic Church and with all religions, I liked and respected Isidoro.
That summer I gave classes to the children of the engineers and peritos. Most of them were elementary school age, but Luis Sever’s daughter, María-Ángeles, was eighteen years old and studied medicine at The University of Salamanca.
Mari-Ángeles was mischievous, audacious, playful, and very attractive. She was a swimmer, looked tan and amazing from sitting by the pool, and came to class in shorts and tanktops. She liked to tease me, often physically.
I tried to maintain a respectful distance between us, but this served only to provoke her to even more savage behavior. One warm day in July, she dumped a glass of water on my head. This led to a wresting match that wound up with both of us on the floor, her firmly between my arms, our faces and lips dangerously close.
—María, I like you a lot, but this cannot go anywhere.
—I know. I’m sorry. I like you too.
We remained friends. The class with her was the best class of the day. We talked, shared poems and songs we liked, and translated some of them. I tried to talk her out of getting married — she was engaged. We talked about the things we liked and disliked about our countries and our cultures. I gave her a book of the collected poems of Edna Saint Vincent Millay.
She confided that her father had warned her, although I was a good teacher and a good person, to be careful because I was “un partidiario de la izquierda” (a leftist).
An English company, Cambridge English, offered a high-intermediate level English exam, First Certificate In English, which affirmed that those who passed the exam were capable of “employing written and spoken English for academic and professional purposes”.
I encouraged José María, Víctor, Orlando, Justino, Luis Sever, and Dorotéa to apply for and take the exam which was given in Madrid. Luis Sever’s responsibilities prevented him from taking a day off to go to Madrid, and Víctor didn’t think he had the ability to pass the test, but the others agreed to do it.
Cambridge English sent us a package of materials to help us — including practice tests. We spent a lot of time and energy preparing. On the day of the test, everyone got up at about five in the morning so they could get to Madrid on time. They traveled together in José María’s car.
We anxiously awaited the results, and I confess that I was excited and nervous when the large manila envelope with the test scores finally arrived. Everyone passed—José María with honors! We were all very happy. I felt that the test results justified my work and the efforts of my students.
I never tire of looking at photographs of Villarino and remembering the year I lived there. Among the highlights of that magical era of my life were the three days of sailing with José María in the Edenic Almendra Reservoir.
I don’t like boats. I get seasick playing with plastic boats in a bathtub. However, sailing is different. The motion of sailboats in the water has never made me sick. I cannot explain this.
José’s boat was thirty feet long and normally required a crew of three or four; however, the two of us were able to sail it by ourselves. This required a huge expenditure of energy. Sailing is not passive. From sunup to sunset, we were in constant motion, ducking under the boom, shifting positions to maintain equilibrium, monitoring the wind and adjusting the sails according to its changes, steering the boat, tying and loosening ropes. When it started getting dark and we finally had to anchor the boat and swim to shore, we hardly had the energy to cross those 40 yards to reach the bank.
As mentioned, Iberduero did not renew the contract with The American Institute, so in September I returned to Salamanca. It took me a while to get used to the noises, smells, crowds, and hustle and bustle of the city — even a small city like Salamanca. Almost 40 years later, I still vividly remember the names, faces, and friendships with the people in the Village of the Winds; the silence of the afternoons; the whistling of the wind at night; and the stars, the billions of stars in the sky.
HOLIDAY DANCE PARTY
A Benefit For Project Santa
Saturday, December 12, 2015 - 7:00pm
At Bones Roadhouse In Gualala
Celebrate the Holiday Season for a worthy cause - PROJECT SANTA. Your donation of fresh, non-perishable canned and dry food items to share with families in our area, will get you in the door. Cash and checks made out to "Project Santa" are also very much welcomed. Dance to a fertile musical mash up of Funk, Soul, Musica Latina (Cumbia, Salsa, Samba, Cha Cha Cha), Oldies, R&B, Reggae, New Orleans music, Hip Hop, and so much more, plus some unusual holiday tunes, expertly mixed by DJ SISTER YASMIN, guaranteed to inspire wild dancing and happiness out on the dance floor! Celebrate Life, Community and Project Santa at Bones Roadhouse in Gualala on Saturday, December 12th at 7pm. Shine up your dancin' shoes and join the party! Bones regular menu, holiday menu and specials will be offered until 10pm. Ring in the Holiday season with good cheer and share with our community, by helping our local Elves and Angels, the good folks at Project Santa do their magic for local families.
Information: 884-4703; 884-1188
Well I loaded my truck in old LA
and everything was a goin' fine
I was on my way to Bakersfield
a headin' down that old gray, flyin'
I was drivin' along, feelin' mighty good
Oh, I didn't have to care
Till I reached for the brakes
and I found out I didn't have any anywhere
Runaway. I'm a goin' down down down
Runaway, dangerous curves all around
If I get out of this truck alive
Well, there's one thing for sure
I ain't a gonna drive
this big ole truck no more
Well I started pickin' up speed
as each white line I passed by
And I knew if I did this ride alive
I'll bet I would have surely died
My head started pumpin'
my heart started beatin'
I didn't know what to do
And that's when I heard myself
a sayin' a prayer or two
Well I finally reached the bottom
boy was I shook up
I opened the door and I crawled out
and walked away from that truck
I cought a ride to the nearest town
where I called my boss on the phone
I said if you want that big iron mash
she's just sittin' out there alone
— Red Simpson